It’s very important to keep warm in winter and early spring. In Chinese Medicine Cold is seen as a pathogen that can enter your body. We call this “Invasion of External Cold.” Achy muscles, fatigue, runny nose, catching cold, and a general feeling of being chilled are some of the symptoms. A Cold Invasion can lower your immune function, allowing illnesses to linger or recur. Staying warm is a good way to keep this climactic “pathogen” at bay.
To help you combat Cold, we’ve put together a Beat the Chill Kit containing items you can use at home. We’ll talk about how to use each one in the Winter Warming Workshop on Feb 21, 2013.
In our Beat the Chill Kit you’ll find the following:
One microwaveable rice neck pillow, hand crafted by our business manager Maureen Connaughton. Maureen has an interest in fabrics and has chosen high quality cloth for these bags. She has made them just the right size to drape over your shoulders and neck. ($14 value)
A box of stick-on moxa which can be applied to specific acu-points to improve your immune system or help prevent symptoms from Cold Invasion. ($4).
A packet of Cinnamon Twig Decoction which is a classic Chinese formula for the beginning symptoms from Cold. It is tasty and very safe for all ages to take. You make a tea from it, drink it up, go to bed well bundled up, and sleep. The herbs and blankets help your pores open so you sweat out the Cold. ($6)
A Fomentek water pillow. These amazing bags take hot water bottles one step further. It’s pillow-sized plastic bag that you fill with hot water. Place it in a pillowcase to keep it from being too hot. You can lay down with it under your back, or rest it on your tummy. You can fold it around your feet or hands so they are surrounded by warm water. Don’t let your cat near it – they love to knead these pillows with their claws! ($11).
A coupon to upgrade your next massage to a hot stone massage. Have you ever tried a therapeutic massage with these wonderfully heated stones? They are just the right size to enhance your healing experience, loosen up your muscles and relax you totally. All we can say is “Ahhhhhhhh…..!” ($15 value)
DURING OUR WORKSHOP these kits, a $50 value, will be available for $25.
Let us know ahead if you want one or more so we can have enough on hand. They make great housewarming or Get Well Soon gifts.
What is Wind-Cold and why should you avoid it?
In Chinese Medicine, one of the ways we describe illnesses is in term of climates. Climates can be internally generated by a disease process (internal pathogenic influences), or an excessive climate in our environment can invade our bodies (external pathogenic influences). Wind, Cold, Damp, Heat, and Dryness are the most common pathogenic influences. This way of describing the disease prices does not negate the concept of germ theory, but exists alongside of it. It’s another way of describing what happens in the body.
For instance a person with arthritis resulting in red, swollen joints that feel hot and are worse in rainy weather might be said to have “Internal Damp Heat” in the joints. Someone who catches a cold, especially after exposure to inclement weather, has an “External Wind-Cold” invasion.
March weather in the Northeast can be quite windy and cold. These are the pathogenic influences from which we need to protect ourselves this time of year. Pathogenic Wind causes itching, symptoms that come and go, watery itchy eyes, sneezing, and rashes that move around. Pathogenic Cold can be responsible for muscle aches, chills, aversion to cold, and runny nose. Many of the symptoms of the common cold are External Wind-Cold symptoms.
There are “Wind points” through which External Wind likes to enter. Many of them are at the base of the skull and near the neck and shoulders. Hence the advice to wear a scarf and keep buttoned up when you go out in any kind of bad weather. The External Wind actually enters these acupoints and lodges in your body. It is said that External Wind does not travel alone, that it likes bringing another pathogen in with it. In this case, External Wind opens the Wind points and enters, making it easier for the External Cold to accompany it.
Wearing a scarf or turtleneck, or keeping your coat collar up will effectively block the entrance of this Wind. Should you find yourself exposed to these pathogenic influences, you can use medicinal ginger tea to help expel them. You can also apply heat to the nape of your neck and upper shoulders with a heating pad or a rice bag heated in the microwave. Rest and sleep will help, too.
If you need stronger medicinal help, usually just one session of acupuncture will help you turn the corner or even prevent the cold from developing. Community Clinic is a good venue for this. Cupping and moxibustion are also very effective ways to expel External Wind-Cold. There are a number of herbal formulas that manage different stages of Wind-Cold invasion (i.e. the common cold).
So, if you do find yourself sneezing with the snuffles, achy muscles and feeling chilled, there is no need to suffer. There are plenty things you can do for a speedy recovery. If you do need our help, we try to schedule you as soon as possible if you have a Wind-Cold invasion.
Cozy Up With Ginger
Fresh ginger root is a warm and pungunt herb, used widely both medicinally and as a food herb. It’s a great item to keep in the fridge during the winter months. Ginger root is easily available in the produce section of almost any grocery. As a tea, it’s warm nature can keep you warm from the inside out. Simmered with a little more strength and in a stronger dose, it can help prevent a winter chill from turning into a cold. And for those achy body parts that flare up in cold, damp weather, a ginger compress may be just the ticket. Have some handy the next time you shovel your driveway!
To make a tea, slice a few pieces of fresh ginger and pierce them a few times. You can also chop or grate it. Place the ginger into your mug, pour hot water over it and let it steep for about five minutes. Add lemon or honey to taste for a delightful winter cuppa.
To make a medicinal tea, chop up about an inch or more of ginger and place it in a pot with a quart of water. Bring it to a boil and then immediately lower the flame to simmer for 20 minutes or so. The time is not exact. Add honey or lemon to taste. Drink this and keep well covered and rest.
This ginger tea can be taken when you have been exposed to cold damp weather and feel sniffles and aches coming on. It can also be used any time you feel the symptoms of a beginning cold. The ginger is slightly diaphoretic, i.e. it induces a slight sweat. You will “sweat the cold out”. You must keep well covered and warm. The added warmth will help the ginger do its job of making you sweat. It will also protect you while your pores are open and sweating. It is very important not to go out or near a draft. The best thing to do is drink the tea, and when you are done, go off to bed to cuddle under the warm blankets and sleep. You should feel much better in the morning. When you wake up, make another pot and drink it throughout the day.
To make a ginger compress you will need ginger, cheese cloth or a light weight fabric such as a handkerchief, a rubber band or string, and small terrycloth towel or two linen towels.
In a saucepan bring a quart of water to a boil, then turn it down to simmer. Meanwhile, grate a golf ball size piece of ginger up. wrap it in the cheesecloth and secure it with the rubber band or string. Squeeze the ginger juice out into the water, and then drop the entire cheesecloth package in. Simmer for 20 minutes.
To apply: You can apply this to cold, achy joints, shoulders, low back or neck.
The easiest is to soak the terrycloth towel in the liquid and …